This blog entry isn’t a rant about Ann Coulter and her inflammatory rhetoric. I am using her image as representation of all that is reprehensible about North America.
When I write about life in my tiny corner of the world, I often say “North America” rather than “America” or the “United States”. That’s because I am literally a citizen of the continent; I am American and Canadian. And I am somewhat obsessive when it comes to keeping up with events in both countries.
On October 19, Canadians elected themselves a new prime minister. It was rather historical for a number of reasons: first, Canadians rejected the majority rule of the federal Conservative party, which had been in power for almost a decade. Second, they elected Liberal Justin Trudeau, son of much-loved former prime minister, Pierre Trudeau (the first father-son prime ministers to be elected in Canada). Third, the rest of the world went ga-ga over Trudeau the younger, because let’s face it – as far as world leaders go – the guy is hot.
I didn’t get to vote in the federal Canadian election because former prime minister Stephen Harper made absentee voting by expat-Canadians a serious pain-in-the-ass. During his years in power, Mr. Harper took many cues from American Republicans, who are known for their divisive policies. That’s the problem with America: everyone pays attention, even though lately, our actions beg to be ignored. America has become the slovenly drunk uncle of the world – a glaring embarrassment, and a cautionary tale depicting how not to behave when the rest of the world is watching.
On Friday, November 13, the great city of Paris was attacked by the Islamic State, killing well over 100 innocent people, and injuring hundreds more. The attacks came on the heels of the terrorist organization claiming responsibility for blowing up a Russian jet liner, and of course, the continued violence in Syria and North Africa, which has lead to an epic refugee crisis in Europe.
Canadians, now with a Liberal government in place, have promised to do their part to help deal with the threat of extremism, and have also pledged to take in Syrian refugees who have been displaced by the violence. America has done the same, but not without an avalanche of ignorant vitriol, which, sadly, has become something of a trademark.
The latest wave of said vitriol was ignited by the attacks in Paris, which gave people like Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, and countless other asinine wing-nuts carte blanche to take to social media like a bunch of schoolyard bullies to link the tragedies that occurred to their personal agendas. Twitter exploded with millions of tweets about how the United States should close its borders to all immigrants, “stop importing Muslims”, and how less restrictive gun laws would help protect the world from terrorist attacks. And, let’s not forget the jewel in the crown of right-wing lunacy: blaming Barack Obama for everything.
It’s difficult enough trying to ignore the asinine rhetoric from the dumbshit gaggle of Republican presidential candidates during the three ring circus-like debates they keep putting on, but when they are joined by even more glaring imbeciles on social media, there isn’t a big enough rock to hide under in an effort to avoid it all. And with the 24-hour news cycle, it never ends. Yet, I find that as deep as my embarrassment runs, I cannot look away.
Why do I feel the need to torture myself with all this insanity? In short, because I never want to be as dumb or as ignorant as the individuals who hang onto their stupidity like some sort of security blanket. Knowledge can be intimidating, but pandering to a continent full of morons is even scarier than a group of suicide bombers.
Democrats are not exempt from the moron label, as illustrated by front-runner Hillary Clinton, who defended campaign contributions from Wall Street by saying she gets them because she helped them rebuild after September 11. Even the people we think are intelligent are capable of nuclear brain farts.
So, how do we reign in the stupidity and the ignorance? We don’t. We can’t, at least not in America. The worse it gets, the more people cling to the Constitution as their get-out-of-being-an-idiot-free card. Freedom of speech has become indistinguishable from hate-speak, and unfortunately, there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. That’s why the American part of me is very embarrassed, because we interpret our constitutional rights as the freedom to say what we want, and shoot whoever we want, regardless of the consequences. And having no fear of the consequences of our actions is not only dangerous, it is très, très embarrassing. God Bless America.